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Excel 2013 is now the Best Solution for Personal BI

Jason Himmelstein sums up a lot of the new Business Intelligence (BI) features of SQL Server 2012 SP1 and Office 2013 in a short phrase: “Excel is now THE self service BI tool” (excerpted from Jason Himmelstein’s audio presentation in a video tutorial titled New BI Functionalities in Office 365 and SQL Server 2013 SP1).

One might ask, what’s the big deal with BI? Jason Himmelstein’s answer is to point out a widely accepted notion about contemporary business computing, ” . . . the data world is getting better. We’re seeing a lot more data coming in, and with SQL Server 2012 and the Master Data Management (MDM) features, . . . the data we’re able to surface [becomes] just that much more powerful for our users.”

Perhaps these new tools finally deliver on Microsoft’s long standing interest (admittedly shared by many of Microsoft’s competitors with regard to their own BI products) to empower end users (usually LoBs, rather than IT organizations) to put together the analyses they really need from their own data. At least Jason Himmelstein think this is the case and states as much in this video.

Excel is, in fact, a perfect choice for this premier role. The product is ubiquitous (Jason Himmelstein notes Excel is taught to students in much of the U.S. public school system), and has been around for over 20 years.

As well, the acquisition cost for Excel is much more within the reach of the average consumer than is the case for either competitive products (Jason Himmelstein mentions Tableau as one of these products), or alternative solutions built on SQL Server 2012 SP1. So it makes sense to start the new “season of BI” on a personal note with Excel.

When one considers PowerPivot, Power View, as well as an opportunity to publish reports “out to SharePoint”, one will likely begin to see, as Jason notes, how Excel is “becoming this massive tool.”

The remainder of this video tutorial is spent on describing some additional features of Excel 2013.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved